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Arts Watch: Shakespeare in the Parking Lot Presents “Richard III”

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Shakespeare’s Richard III, the Drilling Company’s final production of its 2013 season, couldn’t be a more fitting play for its parking lot setting. Last February the skeleton of the real King Richard was unearthed in an English parking lot in Leicester.  So naturally, why not resurrect this King who helped force the political power shift of his time in Broome Street’s Municipal Parking Lot?  A production of Richard III had been in the works for years anyway. Richard A. Harden, a director at The Drilling Company, who passed away in 2011, loved theater that posed political questions and had hoped to direct Richard III in the parking lot. “It made it obvious that all the signs were pointing to doing it this year,” says Hamilton Clancy. (This production is dedicated to the memory of Harden).  The challenge, then, was “how Richard III would be politically meaningful to us now.”

The company was inspired to interpret the play as a reflection of the political tides of conflict that are sweeping through government agencies today. “The current climate is as acrimonious as the War of the Roses,” maintains Clancy. The impulse was to interpret the play as a sort of modern political fable, focusing on how Richard’s political opportunism furthered his own personal destiny. “That has incredible resonance today as we view our modern political figures” states Clancy. One thing history tells us is that Richard was a political animal. He outlawed unpopular taxes, eliminated political opponents ruthlessly, surrounded himself publicly with clergymen, and stifled dissent through censorship. Sound familiar?

Richard will be played by Alessandro Colla, who played Hamlet in the Parking Lot in 2011 and the Woyzeck character in the Drilling Company’s production of “Reservoir” by Eric Henry Sanders in 2010. Coincidentally, Colla is the height that Richard III’s bones suggest he was. Clancy directs.

As a prequel, the company hopes to perform an essay from the New Yorker (rights pending) by Ian Frasier in which Richard III is arguing for a parking spot. Bring a chair, or come early and grand one.  Parking is also available.  Meters will be in effect!

The Drilling Company / Shakespeare in the Parking Lot – Richard III / Thursday – Saturday, August 1 – 17 / 8pm / Free / Municipal Parking Lot at the corner of Ludlow and Broome Streets.


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